Alberta Clipper spreading swath of snow from Dakotas to Great Lakes

An Alberta Clipper system tracks through the region Today and Wednesday


The unsettled weather pattern is set to continue across the Plains and Great Lakes as an Alberta Clipper system tracks through the region Today and Wednesday.

The storm system will be a quick hitter across the region, and with limited moisture in place, snowfall totals are not expected to amount to much by Midwestern standards. However, enough snow will fall in some areas to create slick travel conditions.

The Dickinson Police Department in North Dakota reported wet snow and icy roadways on Tuesday morning, tweeting that "@Dickinsonpd reminds you to slow down and watch for slick intersections."

Icy roads developed in Dickinson, North Dakota, on Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, 2019.


Icy roads developed in Dickinson, North Dakota, on Tuesday morning, Nov. 5, 2019. (Twitter / Dickinson Police Department)

An Alberta Clipper is a storm system during the winter months that originates from the Canadian province of Alberta (or close by--sometimes this type of system can originate from Saskatchewan, Manitoba or even Montana). The storm is a low-pressure, quick-moving system that develops on the lee side of the Canadian Rockies, gets caught up in the jet stream and travels southeastward into the northern Plains, on through the Great Lakes and eventually off the mid-Atlantic coast into the Atlantic Ocean.

This clipper system will dip southward out of Canada into the northern Plains, bringing snow to places like Bismarck, North Dakota, Tuesday morning, and southeastward to Aberdeen, South Dakota, by the afternoon. Due to the fast pace and limited moisture, a general coating to an inch of snow is expected across the region.

Overnight Tuesday, snow will continue to spread eastward into the Midwest. The steadiest of snow is expected to fall across southern Minnesota into south-central Wisconsin. Minneapolis may end up being along the northern fringes of this system as it passes by, with only a coating to up to an inch of snow expected.

Along a line from Rochester, Minnesota, eastward to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, some of the steadiest snow will fall Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. A general swath of 1-3 inches can be expected, with a few localized areas picking up more. Across this region, some travel delays are possible for the Wednesday morning commute.

"Roadways and interstates can still become snow-covered and slippery where the snow will occur during the overnight hours. Travelers on interstates 90 and 94 Wednesday morning may need to allow for extra time for the drive." AccuWeather Meteorologist Kyle Elliot said.

"Visibility will likely be reduced due to falling snow as well." Elliot added.

Steadier snow will spread into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan during the day on Wednesday. The steadiest of snow is expected to remain north of the Interstate-96 corridor, leaving places like Grand Rapids, Lansing and Kalamazoo with little to no snowfall accumulation during the day.


Farther north in Michigan, a general 1-3 inches of snow can be expected for places like Ludington, Mount Pleasant and even Houghton Lake, Michigan, as the Clipper passes through Wednesday.

As the clipper system tracks eastward Wednesday night, an extra boost of moisture from a storm system to the south should allow for snow to expand southward and spread over the I-94 and I-96 corridor in southern Michigan westward into far southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Continuing with the pattern, accumulations will generally be on the order of a coating to an inch before the system exits to the east by Thursday morning.

Residents in places like Chicago and Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs may need to allow some extra time for their Thursday morning commute to brush a coating of snow off of the car and watch for some slick spots on the roadways as snow showers persist through much of Wednesday night in the region.

All eyes will then begin to focus on the Northeast and the potential for the first widespread accumulating snow of the season as the clipper system phases with a storm system to the south.

In the wake of the departed clipper system across the Midwest and Plains, a surge of cold air will infiltrate the Midwest as a cold Canadian high pressure area settles in to end the week.

Download the free AccuWeather app to see the latest forecast for your region. Check for updates on


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